Don’t invite these bugs to your bonfires

By: Lauren Hemmeke, Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences undergraduate in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (CFRES), MTU (lkhemmek@mtu.edu); Emily Klawiter, Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area (KISMA), Assistant Coordinator (eklawite@mtu.edu); Dr. Sigrid Resh, KISMA Coordinator and Research Asst. Prof., CFRES, MTU (KISMA.up@gmail.com)

As summer approaches, you may be planning your camping trips and bonfires with family and friends, but remember to keep invasive species off the guest list! Transporting firewood is a common and easy way for invasive insects and diseases to spread. Invasive insects like emerald ash borer, spongy moth, spotted lanternfly, balsam woolly adelgid, and hemlock woolly adelgid are easily spread through firewood. While balsam and hemlock woolly adelgids have not been found in the Upper Peninsula yet, they may be found where you are traveling from. Emerald ash borers and spongy moths are here and causing destruction to our trees. Harmful forest diseases such as oak wilt can also be spread through firewood, and oak wilt is just north of the Wisconsin border in the UP. These forest pests will devastate our forests; we’ve seen what emerald ash borer and spongy moths can do. They are often slow to spread, but can make huge jumps if transported via firewood or other recreational equipment.

Luckily, there are easy steps to prevent the spread of these and other invasive forest pests; Michigan authorities ask residents and visitors to adhere to the following state-issued guidelines (https://www.michigan.gov/invasives/laws/dont-move-firewood) when using firewood:

• Buy firewood where you will burn it. As a general rule of thumb, firewood should not be transported more than 10 miles from where it came from. This means that you shouldn’t take wood from your backyard to your friend’s bonfire an hour away, or buy wood from the store near your house before leaving for your camping trip.

• Use firewood that is certified, heat-treated.

• Leave your firewood at home when going camping; buy it at your destination or collect dead and down wood onsite when permitted.

• Burn all your firewood, do not take any home with you.

• Find local firewood vendors in Michigan by visiting Firewood Scout.

By collecting or purchasing firewood near your destination, you can help stop the spread of invasive species. Nobody wants uninvited guests showing up at their party, so make sure that you don’t let invasive pests show up at yours. By slowing the spread of these invasive forest pests, land managers have extra time to prepare a management plan if the species is found in their area. This means more of our beautiful forests can be preserved if the spread of these species is not further assisted by humans.

For more information on the problems caused by transporting firewood, visit www.dontmovefirewood.org. Also remember to clean your recreational equipment (play clean go-https://playcleango.org/; clean, drain, dry-https://stopaquatichitchhikers.org/aboutus/).

Contact KISMA (kisma.up@gmail.com) or your local CISMA (https://www.michiganinvasives.org/managementareas/) with any questions about invasive species.


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